Quintero’s big bat lifts Tacoma to win

Staff writerJune 22, 2014 

The Tacoma Rainiers featured five players who have seen time with the Seattle Mariners this season.

But it was Humberto Quintero who delivered the big hit.

The former major league catcher hit a walk-off single to right field, delivering the Rainiers to a 4-3 victory over the Oklahoma City RedHawks at Cheney Stadium.

Michael Saunders, Abraham Almonte, Justin Smoak, Corey Hart and Nick Franklin were at the top of the lineup for the Rainiers, but none figured into the winning rally.

With two outs in the 11th inning, Xavier Nady — a former major league outfielder — legged out an infield hit to put runners on the corner. Quintero then hit his game-winning single.

“The first couple at bats, they were throwing me in,” said Quintero, who also had a two-run homer in the seventh. “And I was expecting it, and just turned on it.”

Quintero finished 2-for-5 with three RBIs in the game.

“Q had a big day,” Rainiers manager Roy Howell said. “The home run, the winning run, he did a great job at the plate today, besides doing a great job behind it.”

Saunders, Smoak and Hart were all in the lineup on rehabilitation assignments, while Almonte and Franklin were sent down by the parent club earlier this season. Hart was making his first appearance in a game since he injured his hamstring May 22.

Smoak is eligible to return to Seattle on June 25, while Saunders can come back on the 26th. There is no timetable for Hart’s return.

After Oklahoma City took a 1-0 lead in the second, Saunders hit a solo home run to right to tie the game in the third.

The RedHawks then went ahead 3-1 in the fifth with the final run scoring on a Quintero throwing error.

Quintero made up for it, though, blasting a two-run homer in the seventh to tie the game at 3.

“It’s fun to win that way,” Howell said. “Both sides threw the ball well, but mistakes happen, like when Q hit that homer, he took advantage of a mistake the pitcher made. Little things win and lose ballgames.”

Todd Coffey (1-0) got the win, pitching a perfect 11th. Andrew Carraway gave up three runs in five innings in the start, but the bullpen bailed him out. Stephen Kohlscheen, Stephen Pryor, Carson Smith and Coffey combined to throw six innings of one-hit relief.

ON TAP

Jordan Pries (4-5, 2.50 ERA) takes the mound Sunday, as the Rainiers host the RedHawks at 1:35 p.m. Oklahoma City will send Nick Tropeano (5-4, 2.09 ERA) to the mound. The game will be broadcast on 850-AM.

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